How not to be a retail jerk this Black Friday (and beyond)

The righteous remnant is already waving its mighty stick. “Keep stores closed on Thanksgiving!” the remnant cries, “Let those poor people be with their families!” They rail against the opening of stores on the holiest of Thanksmases. They stand in staunch opposition to it and advertise their vehemence all over the social media, and then a mere hours later they are Instagramming the heck out of the Black Friday mayhem. Because forcing a man to work for double overtime on Thursday night is radically different from forcing a man to work on Black Friday at a regular hourly wage?

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Photo by Heidi Sandstrom. on Unsplash

I don’t dedicate a whole lot of bandwidth to pondering whether or not we should open or close stores on certain days. What I do care a great deal about are fair wages, equal employment opportunities, and consumer protections. Which is why, having worked plenty of retail (shout-out to Ann Taylor, Paper Source, and a now-defunct gift shop to name a few), I’d like to speak specifically to the retailer’s experience through the holidays.

Here are some things to remember as we cultivate kindness toward our retail neighbor:

  1. You are a VIP customer. Just like everybody else. Although the retail associates are trained to make you believe otherwise, exercise a little common courtesy, especially as the holidays approach. If your cashmere sweater cannot be found at Gap North, and the associate offers to call Gap West to see if it’s in supply, this is a kind gesture, and exceedingly helpful since the retail associate probably knows the personnel at the other store. But if there are heaps of other customers waiting to be rung up, perhaps you can offer to let others go ahead of you. Or! Perhaps consider making the call yourself on your handy cordless calling device right there in your pocket!

And you? What are your Retail Absolutes?

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Writer of essays, collector of vintage, reader of books, wife of one, mother of two. Subscribe to my monthly love letter:

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